This is my son. His name is Gabriel Anthony Duarte. Today, November 1, is his birthday and this year he would have been 10 years old. He is celebrating in Heaven.Read More
When people say that time heals, they are mostly right. I think about my son every day, and sometimes my thoughts take me to different places and evoke different emotions. Tomorrow I am taking my girls to Disneyland for Mickey's Halloween Party and just a few minutes ago my imagination wandered away and I pictured my girls walking around Disneyland with their older brother standing right next to them. My son lived 13 hours and he passed away while in my arms, he would be 7 years old right now, and probably counting down the days to his 8th birthday on November 1st. I have a few photos of him that the nurses took for us and as I look at his little face, I think he would have been my one child who looks like me.
It has gotten easier as the years have gone by and my daughters and husband fill my life up with everyday things. But sometimes I will hear someone call his name and it takes my breath away, or I will hear someone mention his birth date and my stomach will drop. I don't think that will ever change. As my daughters grow up and learn new things, I wonder what it would have been like on his first day of kindergarten or how handsome he would have looked for picture day. Our lives would have been so different if he stayed, we would all be different people right now. I know it's not good to dwell on the "what ifs?" I have learned that much over these years. But it's true, I will always wonder.
Today, October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I am 1 in 4 women who have experienced the unimaginable loss. My faith that our Lord would get me through the hardest times is what got me where I am today. My two little girls and husband that drive me CRAZY are my blessings and knowing that my son is waiting for me, gives me comfort. I hope that when I share about my son and our loss, I can help someone who is going through the hardest time, see the light. Because, the light is there and it'll get brighter I promise.
Who is your role model? According to a recent survey* 86% of women ages 35 plus, say their biggest female role model is someone they know personally, not a celebrity or political figure. Women see the best female role models as a family or community member. To recognize and celebrate the remarkable women among us, Pine-Sol® has teamed up with actress and activist Rosie Perez to launch the ‘When Life Gets Tough, Women Rise Above It’ campaign.
As part of this awesome campaign, Pine-Sol® donated $25,000 to Women Empowered, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles that connects, educates and supports women of all ages and backgrounds, inspiring them to give back to their communities.
From now until January 31, 2014, women across the country are encouraged to contribute their own stories of triumph to Pine-Sol’s® collection of stories by visiting www.WomenRiseAboveIt.com or www.LasMujeresNoSeRinden.com.
Here is my story.
I rose above... grief and heartache.
I am rising above and I am staying strong.
It has been 6 years since my son was born and passed away. The thought of not bringing my son home was never even a possibility in my mind. His room was ready for him, his clothes were washed, the car seat was in the car. After he was born, the doctors discovered an inoperable heart condition and told us he could not be saved.
As most could only imagine, as a first time mother, I was heart broken. I was able to spend a week straight holed up in our apartment with my husband, just being together. Once my husband returned to work, reality hit that I was on "maternity leave." I spent the day in bed or on my couch with my dog and cat. I even needed my mother to come drive me to the grocery store, because my focus was just gone.
The hardest part of my healing came a few months later when I had to return to work. I worked at a school, and the last time my students saw me, I was very pregnant. I had to return to work and explain to a bunch of 12-17 year old's what happened. It was really tough for a few days, because for each absent student, I had to explain it again the next day.
Now, 6 years later, I write about my son on my blog and share my story hoping to give other grieving mothers hope that it will get better. I have two beautiful, smart and healthy daughters that fill my day with fun. This is my story of triumph. When life gets tough, Women rise above it. Although, my heart will always ache for my son, I am proof that things will get better.
- Once a week for 12 weeks, Pine-Sol® will award one lucky winner small tokens of appreciation. (Flower bouquet + Pine Sol coupons) ARV: $150
- Three first prize winners will receive complimentary house cleaning services for a year ARV: $2,400
- One grand prize winner will be awarded an all-inclusive trip to enjoy a peaceful spa experience at a deluxe hotel. ARV: $5,000
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States & D.C. 18 years and older. Ends 1/31/14 at 11:59 a.m. PT. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, and prize descriptions, visit www.womenriseaboveit.com. Void where prohibited.
SIN OBLIGACIÓN DE COMPRA. Abierto a residentes legales de los 50 estados de los Estados Unidos y D.C., mayores de 18 años. Termina el 1/31/14 a las 11:59 a.m. PT Para participar y consultar las Reglas oficiales, incluyendo las probabilidades y las descripciones de los premios, visitewww.lasmujeresnoserinden.com. Nulo donde esté prohibido.
- RSV typically occurs in epidemics during the months of November-March (though it may vary).
- RSV is the leading cause of hospitalizations in babies during their first year of life in the US, up to 400 infant deaths each year.
- RSV is responsible for 1 in 13 pediatrician visits in children under the age of 5.
- One Third of mothers have never heard of RSV.
- Wash your children's hands and ask others to do the same.
- Keep toys, clothes, blankets, and sheets clean.
- Avoid crowds and young children during peak RSV season.
- Never let anyone smoke around your children
- Stay away from people who are sick or have recently been sick.
|2013 Team Duarte|
Linda Martinez, Maricela Duarte, Mark Duarte, Me (Cynthia Duarte), Debra Castellanos, George Martinez, Adriana Manzo, Melinda Martinez, and Kristy.
And Junior members, Alexis Duarte, Lacey Duarte, and Gizmo.
|Team Duarte in front of the Start/Finish line|
|My mom Linda, best friend Debra and my daughters Lacey and Alexis, with our Team Duarte banner that I designed.|
|Alexis and her Papa|
Papa decided to hold her up so she could see the USC Marching band as we were walking out through the starting line.
|Nana and Papa with Lacey and Alexis with the KMart Blue light guy.|
|Lexie's little legs carried her for about 50 ft, before she got back in her little car.|
|Lexie looks tired, but never really walked. She was just along for the ride, the face painting, and the cotton candy.|
It's nice to know that everyone there, is there for a good reason, for a good cause. There are two families that I remember from the walk. One was a family with triplets being pulled in their little buggies, they had a sign that read, "We were born at 26 weeks" They looked happy and healthy, well, besides the one in the last buggy, she seemed bummed to be up so early in the morning. Another family walking alongside us, had their daughter sitting atop a little wagon, and she was wearing wings. When you looked at her wagon they had pictures of a tiny baby, with tubes in her nose. They were obviously very happy to say that their daughter made it through and was now strong enough to be there and walk with them.
The whole day is just surrounded by happiness, even though their are families and teams like ours, whose babies did not make it through, we are there together, honoring his name. It's a great day to remember, celebrate life, and be surrounded by people that feel the same way.